Many people know that getting a good estate plan is important, however they might not know why. There can be a myriad of problems that happen with your family and with your estate if you are not prepared. One of the biggest headaches can be going through probate. Here are a couple ways that you can avoid putting your estate through probate.
1. Have A Trust and A Will
A will must go through the probate process. Probate is when the government has to go through and oversee the distribution of your assets. This will also mean that everything in your will is on public record. By law every will must be probated. This is why it is better if you can have both a trust and will. A trust does not have to be probated and can go through a private and personal process. For example, some people create something called a pour-over will. This means that if you die and something wasn't put in the trust, you can specify that everything left in the will just goes into the trust. This means that you can completely bypass probate and give your family and heirs what they need right away.
When you meet with an estate-planning attorney they will give you both a trust and a will. They will encourage you to put everything in the trust, and simply name guardians for minor children in your will, then pour everything else in to the trust. This will protect you and save your estate from going into probate.
2. Talk To Your Family Before You Pass Away
Another reason that estates go through probate is that the estate is contested. If you have family or heirs fighting over your estate it will have to go through the court and it will be decided there what the estate plan meant, if you were mentally fit when you sign the estate plan, and so much more. One of the best ways to avoid your family fighting over your estate is to talk about it with them before you pass away. If you are planning on changing certain things about the estate, like giving something specific to a certain child, it is important that the family know this. You can explain your reasoning and hopefully put out any fires before you pass away, this way it isn't fought in court while each person tries to interprets what you meant when you made the estate plan.
These are just two ways to bypass probate.